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Islington Council has called off its housing repairs contract with Kier, deciding against a three-year extension option, and brought the work back in house.
Kier had been providing repair services to the London Borough of Islington’s 30,000 homes for the past 14 year under a £16.5m a year contract.
Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said:
“This is an important milestone for Islington’s council housing. At the same time as building a new generation of council housing we want to provide a high-quality service for our residents.
“Two years ago we brought housing management back in-house – and now our decision to bringing the repairs service in-house too shows how important it is for us to get it right.
“By running the repairs service directly, we can ensure resident satisfaction is a priority over profit. Over time, we want to maximise local employment and apprenticeships, alongside supporting the workforce and reducing dependence on subcontractors.”
Excerpt from Islington council report:
There are two main options for Executive to consider:
An in-house service with a quantified estimate of potential financial risks
An extended contract subject to conditions that would have to be negotiated with Kier with unquantifiable financial risks.
The report continues that:
“An in-house option offers the best protection against further deterioration in the market for providing responsive repairs services. In recent years many councils and other housing providers have been hit hard when major contractors go out of business. Islington itself had a narrow escape when Connaught went out of business shortly before it was due to take up a capital investment contract, and some of our new-build has been delayed by the collapse of Rok.”
‘The in-house option carries potential short-to-medium term cost disadvantage, but in the longer run could be to the Council’s advantage. It also carries the risk of the service declining during a difficult transition. A well organised and well managed in-house service would provide better value for money and could reduce the financial risk of volatility in the market.’